three significant victories
AAUP members at University of Northern Iowa stand strong in support of collective bargaining: On October 30, 2018, the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) voted resoundingly to recertify their AAUP chapter, the United Faculty of UNI, as their union. This vote is the result of legislation, designed to disempower unions like the United Faculty, that was passed in 2017 by the Iowa legislature. As the members and the leaders of the chapter recognized, this legislation is also an attempt to undermine the faculty voice and undermine academic freedom and shared governance. Working in collaboration with AAUP staff organizers, the chapter, which represents full-time and part-time faculty, ran a strong “Union Yes!” campaign, which resulted in 85 percent of all eligible faculty voting. Of those voting, 97 percent voted in favor of keeping AAUP union representation. Building on the momentum from this election, the chapter is continuing to strengthen shared governance on campus and to improve the working conditions of non-tenure-track members. For more information about this important victory for academic unionism, click here.
The AAUP achieves a victory for faculty governance rights at the University of Montana Western: Recently, faculty members at UMW contacted the AAUP for advice and assistance about their administration’s disregard for the role of the faculty in institutional decision making. At issue was the administration’s attempt to obstruct the faculty senate review of the chancellor, provost, and other administrators, as outlined in the university bylaws. The AAUP wrote to UMW chancellor Beth Weatherby, taking the administration to task for its unwillingness to respect shared governance, specifically the role of the faculty in the evaluation of administrators. The letter was brought to the attention of Montana commissioner of higher education Clayton T. Christian, who wrote to Weatherby to reaffirm “the important role faculty play in the campus decision-making process,” as well as the importance of principles of shared governance. The commissioner further asserted, “We must ensure that all review processes of administrators, as well as faculty, are robust, fair, and consistent with system and campus policies.” The AAUP’s intervention helped to guarantee that shared governance remains strong at University of Montana Western. Read an account by two UMW faculty members here.
Faculty form campus AAUP chapters to defend and strengthen academic freedom and shared governance: On November 30, the Chronicle of Higher Education ran a story about the revitalization of AAUP chapters on campuses around the country (see it here). In the past two years, the AAUP has welcomed 42 new or revitalized advocacy chapters. Faculty are banding together to form or revitalize AAUP chapters as a collective response to attacks on academic freedom and shared governance. Members cite corporatization, legislative overreach, and the adjunctification of the profession as the reasons for joining together to form a chapter. The AAUP welcomes these chapters and looks forward to working with them on defending AAUP core principles and ensuring higher education as a common good.
We will continue to provide updates on the important work being done by the national AAUP and by our chapters and conferences over the next semester. In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy holiday!
Julie Schmid, AAUP Executive Director